The latest version of Chrome OS is well-suited for hybrid life. Voice search through Google works well, and the system accurately resized and reoriented windows when flipping between laptop and tablet modes. A small icon in the lower-right corner of the screen allows you to flip between open windows when holding the system as a tablet.
The 10.1-inch 1,280x800-pixel native resolution display gets swallowed up by an especially thick screen bezel, making it look even smaller than it is. Touch response when scrolling up and down long webpages varied, from very responsive to somewhat stuttery, and many websites and cloud-based apps simply don't have touch-friendly navigation. Despite its small size, Netflix video and website text both looked clear and legible on the display. The image did not significantly fade when viewed from side angles, but glare from the overly glossy top surface was an issue.
Ports and connections
|Audio||Combo headphone/microphone jack|
|Data||2 USB 2.0, microSD card reader|
|Networking||802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth|
Connections, performance and battery life
For such a small laptop, the C100 includes a decent set of ports and connections. Both USB ports are of the slower USB 2.0 variety, but you're really not going to be transferring that much data on and off the tiny 16GB SSD in any event. HDMI and SD card ports are of the micro variety, so adapters will be required, which means extra gear in your travel bag.
The built-in Wi-Fi antenna uses the faster 802.11ac standard, which is important for a device that's essentially online-only.
This is the first Chromebook we've tested with the 1.8Ghz Rockchip 3288-C processor, as opposed to the more common Intel Celeron or even Core i-series chips in other Chromebooks (or the Nvidia Tegra K1). In standard Chrome-friendly online benchmark tests, the C100 was the slowest performer in two out of three of our tests.
However, that doesn't necessarily rule the C100 out as a useful machine. In practical terms, using a Chromebook to surf news, shopping and social media websites, or streaming video, is low-impact enough that even the Rockchip can handle it with minimal slowdown. In our hands-on use, the system felt powerful enough to handle those tasks most of the time, as well as basic word-processing. Playing online games and running too many open browser windows at once is where you start to run into issues.
The trade-off for slower performance is better battery life. Just as the C100 was the slowest Chromebook, it was also the longest-lasting, running for exactly 13 hours in our online video-playback test, which streams HD video from the Internet nonstop. Most other Chromebooks, including current Toshiba and Samsung models, run 7 to 8 hours on the same test.
The Asus Chromebook Flip C100 packs a lot of features into a small, low-cost package, including a touchscreen, hybrid hinge, and aluminum body. The biggest trade-off is slower performance, as well as the cramped input methods and small screen. This, or any sub-13-inch Chromebook is never going to be your all-day productivity machine.
The extra-long battery life is a great unexpected bonus, but if you're looking to spend the least possible on a secondary or travel computer, keep in mind that a handful of very low-end PCs with full Windows 8 can be found for even less.
|Asus Chromebook Flip C100||Chrome OS; 1.8GHz Rockchip 3288-C Quad-Core; 2GB RAM; 16GB SSD|
|Acer Chromebook 13||Chrome OS; 2.1GHz Nvidia Tegra K1 (arm7); 2GB RAM; 16GB SSD|
|Toshiba CB35-B3340 Chromebook 2||Chrome OS; 2.16GHz Intel Celeron N2840; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM; 16GB SSD|
|HP Stream 11||Windows 8.1 (64-bit); 2.16GHz Intel Celeron N2840; 2GB DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz; 64MB (dedicated) Intel HD Graphics; 32GB SSD|
|Dell Chromebook 11||Chrome OS; 1.7GHz Intel Core i3 4005U; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM; 16GB SSD|